Economic analysis of feeding pasteurized nonsaleable milk versus conventional milk replacer to dairy calves

Sandra M. Godden, John P. Fetrow, Joellen M. Feirtag, Lorissa R. Green, Scott J. Wells

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Abstract

Objective-To determine growth, morbidity, and mortality rates in dairy calves fed pasteurized nonsaleable milk versus commercial milk replacer and compare economics of feeding pasteurized nonsaleable milk versus commercial milk replacer in dairy calves. Design-Clinical trial. Animals-438 dairy calves. Procedure-Calves were assigned at 1 to 2 days of age to be fed pasteurized nonsaleable milk or a commercial milk replacer until weaned. Body weight was measured at the time of study enrollment and at the time of weaning, and any medical treatments administered and deaths that occurred prior to weaning were recorded. A partial budget model was developed to examine the economics of feeding pasteurized nonsaleable milk versus commercial milk replacer. Results-Calves fed conventional milk replacer had significantly lower rates of gain (-0.12 kg/d [-0.26 lb/d]), lower weaning weights (-5.6 kg [-12.3 lb]), higher risk for treatment during the summer and winter months (odds ratio [OR], 3.99), and higher risk of death during the winter months (OR, 29.81) than did calves fed pasteurized nonsaleable milk. The estimated savings of feeding pasteurized nonsaleable milk, compared with milk replacer, was $0.69/calf per day. The estimated number of calves needed to economically justify the nonsaleable milk pasteurization system was 23 calves/d. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Results suggest that dairy calves fed pasteurized nonsaleable milk have a higher growth rate and lower morbidity and mortality rates than do calves fed conventional milk replacer. Feeding pasteurized nonsaleable milk could be an economically viable strategy for dairy calf producers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1547-1554
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Volume226
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2005

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